The US Warns China Not To Assist In The Russian Invasion Of Ukraine

Russia and China on Monday denied allegations by U.S. officials that Russia has asked China to provide military equipment to assist the invasion of Ukraine…

The Biden Administration issued public warnings to Beijing on Monday that it must not do anything to assist the Russian war effort or help Moscow evade international sanctions.

The accusation that Russia asked China for help with the Ukraine attack came from unnamed U.S. officials who spoke to the Washington Post on Sunday. The officials did not say “what kind of weaponry had been requested, or whether they know how China responded.”

Similar reports were published on Sunday by the Financial Times, the New York Times, and Politico, probably quoting the same anonymous U.S. officials. This report said Russia has been asking China for “military equipment and other assistance since the start of the invasion.” 

“Another person familiar with the situation said the US was preparing to warn its allies, amid some indications that China may be preparing to help Russia. Other U.S. officials have said there were signs that Russia was running out of some kinds of weaponry as the war in Ukraine extends into its third week,” the Financial Times wrote.

The Washington Post quoted analysts who said China has not previously been known to sell weapons to Russia, but it has purchased weapons from Russia, raising the possibility that Russia’s request for assistance could involve China loaning or returning some of the gear it obtained from Russia.

The Financial Times quoted former CIA analyst Chris Johnson suggesting that China might be receptive to pleas for assistance for Moscow because it fears a debacle in Ukraine could bring down Russian dictator Vladimir Putin and his government, “unleashing chaos on their northern border unseen since the collapse of the Soviet Union.”

All of these reports indicated the sources were not authorized to speak on the record. All of the reporting news agencies said the White House refused to comment on the allegations. The New York Times said its sources had to remain off the record to “keep secret their means of collecting the intelligence on Russia’s requests.”

The White House did, however, issue public warnings to China not to assist the Russian invasion in any way, including sanctions relief for Moscow. 

“We are communicating directly, privately to Beijing that there will absolutely be consequences for large-scale sanctions evasion efforts or support to Russia to backfill them. We will not allow that to go forward and allow there to be a lifeline to Russia from these economic sanctions from any country anywhere in the world,” national security adviser Jake Sullivan said in a CNN interview on Sunday.

“We have made it clear to not just Beijing, but every country in the world, that if they think that they can basically bail Russia out, they can give Russia a workaround to the sanctions that we’ve imposed, they should have another thing coming,” Sullivan said in another interview with NBC News. “We will ensure that neither China, nor anyone else, can compensate Russia for these losses,” he said.

Yet another unnamed U.S. official told Reuters on Monday that Sullivan planned to warn top Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi that China will join Russia in “global isolation” if it supports the invasion of Ukraine. Sullivan and Yang are scheduled to meet on Monday.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry angrily denounced the reports on Sunday, insisting there has been no request for assistance from Russia at any time during the invasion of Ukraine.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian called the reports “fake news” and accused the United States of “spreading disinformation targeting China on the Ukraine issue, with malicious intentions.”

The Chinese embassy in Washington told the Washington Post it was completely unfamiliar with the claims that Russia is asking China for aid. The embassy insisted China’s only interest lies in ending hostilities in Ukraine as quickly as possible.

Russia also denied the allegations that it requested military assistance from China. “Russia possesses its own independent potential to continue the operation. As we said, it is going according to plan and will be completed on time and in full,” insisted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Monday.

Peskov claimed Russia retains so much overwhelming force in Ukraine that major cities could soon be conquered.

“The defense ministry of the Russian Federation, while ensuring the maximum safety of the civilian population, does not exclude the possibility of taking major population centers under full control,” he said. ✪

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